Animal liberation group DxE have released a manual on how they go about gathering intelligence. I will be downloading it as research material (for future books, honest).
I’ve been toying with an idea for a story involving a super yacht. I’m thinking heist, but reading about the conditions the crews often have to put up with, maybe mutiny would be more likely.
Related- a few links on super yacht cyber security- Cyber defence at sea – The essential guide to preventing superyacht cyber crime – Why cyber crime is the biggest threat to superyacht security.
Completely unrelated (unless I want to kill a billionaire in a truly bizarre way)- Why Spanish Fly only works on men. And is deadly. And also- Aphrodisiacs From These Toads Lead to Heart Attacks, Not Sex.
That should allow me to close a few tabs, at least.
The Gang Violence Matrix, used by Police forces around the UK seems purpose built for a tale about a miscarriage of justice. More details in this report, including a hint of how people on the list could be victimised by reduced access to services.
There’s an enquiry going on into the activities of undercover Police officers, details of which may inform a story I’ve got part planned.
This item about art conservation aboard billionaires’ super yachts stirs visions of a daring high seas art robbery. I’ll have to have a look at the state of super yacht security.
US white supremacists, but we have our share of home-grown equivalents.
In May, federal agents searching the Tampa home of 21-year-old Brandon Russell discovered an array of explosives and bomb ingredients: fuses made from rifle shells, a white cake-like explosive substance called HMTD, more than one pound of ammonium nitrate and other explosive precursors, and two different kinds of radioactive material. The agents promptly arrested Russell, who was both a member of the Florida National Guard and a leader of Atomwaffen, a small fascist group calling for a “white revolution in the 21st century.”
A few articles that have been sitting in open tabs for too long, that I’ve finally got round to reading-
During the 2008 financial crisis the theory emerged that certain companies, particularly financial institutions, were “too big to fail.” These firms were considered to be so large and entwined with other companies that their closure would be catastrophic to the entire economy. In today’s Navy, the aircraft carrier has become “too big to sink.” When it functions as designed, it is an extremely powerful platform that has remarkable economies of scale. But carriers are crucial to so many of the fleet’s missions that if the enemy can defeat them, the results would be catastrophic for both the Navy and the nation. The loss of a $12 billion capital ship, more than 5,000 American lives, and a powerful symbol of U.S. military superiority would send shock waves around the world.
Perepilichnyy, who faced repeated threats after fleeing to Britain, was found dead outside his home in Surrey after returning from a mysterious trip to Paris in 2012. Despite an expert detecting signs of a fatal plant poison in his stomach, the British police have insisted there was no evidence of foul play, and Theresa May’s government has invoked national security powers to withhold evidence from the inquest into his cause of death – which is ongoing.
Poison in the System – Buzzfeed (Part 1 of 5)
Lavish London mansions. A hand-painted Rolls-Royce. And eight dead friends. For the British fixer Scot Young, working for Vladimir Putin’s most vocal critic meant stunning perks – but also constant danger. His gruesome death is one of 14 that US spy agencies have linked to Russia – but the UK police shut down every last case. A bombshell cache of documents today reveals the full story of a ring of death on British soil that the government has ignored.
From Russia With Blood – Buzzfeed (Part 2 of 5)
His nuclear research helped a judge determine that former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko had been assassinated – likely on Putin’s orders. Just months after the verdict, the scientist himself was found stabbed to death with two knives. Police deemed it a suicide, but US intelligence officials suspect it was murder.
The Man Who Knew Too Much- Buzzfeed (Part 3 of 5)
After the dead body of an MI6 spy was found locked in a sports bag in London, police said the death was “probably an accident” – but British and American spy agencies have secret intelligence suggesting Gareth Williams may have been assassinated over highly sensitive work on Russia.
The Secrets Of The Spy In The Bag- Buzzfeed (Part 4 of 5)
Vladimir Putin’s former media czar was murdered in Washington, DC, on the eve of a planned meeting with the US Justice Department, according to two FBI agents whose assertions cast new doubts on the US government’s official explanation of his death.
“Everyone thinks he was whacked”- Buzzfeed (Part 5 of 5)
KIEV, Ukraine — Ukrainians have long struggled with fake news from Russia, but last week, they discovered something even more insidious: a fake journalist.
Reports of satellite navigation problems in the Black Sea suggest that Russia may be testing a new system for spoofing GPS, New Scientist has learned. This could be the first hint of a new form of electronic warfare available to everyone from rogue nation states to petty criminals.
Part of my research on consciousness for an upcoming project. This was more of a philosophical read on the definition of consciousness, and its benefits and problems, than about the process that may have brought it about.
Lots of interesting ideas, and the book is sprouting many coloured bookmark tabs where I found ideas worth exploring further, or springboards for ideas to put in the story.
Cheap drones with handguns mounted on them. I have to work a shootout with these things into a story.
Hack/Slash is not the same idea as the story I’m currently considering, but it comes from a similar place. I knew somebody had to have done something like this.
Hack/Slash is an ongoing comic books series, launched from several one shots of the same name, published by Devil’s Due Publishing that has also been adapted into a stage play and a feature film.
The series, starting as a series of one-shots, was created by writer and sometime penciller Tim Seeley.
The focus of the series is on a horror victim, Cassie, who strikes back at the monsters, known as “slashers”, with Vlad, a disfigured “gentle giant” who frequently wears a gas mask.
As research for a story idea (which, if written, I’ll probably be releasing under a pseudonym, though it may be as transparent as Gareth Pattinson) I’ve seen the legend of the Cropsey (or Kropsy) Maniac cited as inspiration for more than one story. Amongst these films, and one which I watched last night, is The Burning a by-the-numbers but entertaining summer camp slasher which actually calls its killer Cropsy.
The film Cropsey is a documentary about the legend and how it collided with reality in a bunch of child disappearances on Staten Island. The film’s website has more information. I can’t find any other mentions of the legend online except in relation to the film- here’s the Wikipedia article about it– which seems a little odd.
The final girl is a horror film (particularly slasher film) trope that specifically refers to the last woman or girl alive to confront the killer, ostensibly the one left to tell the story. The final girl has been observed in dozens of films, including Halloween, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Hellraiser, Alien, and Scream. The term was coined  by Carol J. Clover in her book Men, Women and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film. Clover suggests that in these films, the viewer begins by sharing the perspective of the killer, but experiences a shift in identification to the final girl partway through the film.
For research purposes, the Wikipedia entry on HUMan INTelligence in espionage.
HUMINT, a syllabic abbreviation of the words HUMan INTelligence, refers to intelligence gathering by means of interpersonal contact, as opposed to the more technical intelligence gathering disciplines such as SIGINT, IMINT and MASINT. NATO defines HUMINT as “a category of intelligence derived from information collected and provided by human sources.” Typical HUMINT activities consist of interrogations and conversations with persons having access to pertinent information.
Rishi Sowa has built himself a floating island using plastic bottles, netting and plywood, with mangrove helping to hold it all together. Find out more at spiralislanders.com.
This interests me because I’ve recently gone back to Heavensent, the propellerpunk tale I wrote a few years ago, with a view to revising and expanding it. Early in the tale some of the characters are trapped on a floating island which has evolved in a section of a vast ocean where the eddies of the current have trapped lots of flotsam. The idea was that algae had trapped seeds which had sent out roots, further binding things together, until a floating landmass had been formed. As the tale is set at a time of lower technological advancement than today it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to imagine some of the starting material being wood and other biodegradable materials. This shall feed back into the Heavensent rewrite.
The fractions of seconds flicker past on the CCTV footage from the Exelco store in Tokyo’s upmarket Ginza shopping district. As the clock races forward, an elegantly suited, tie-less western man enters through the front door and turns left towards a display cabinet. A second man walks in under an umbrella, his mouth and nose covered by a white anti-contamination mask. He reaches into a small rucksack and takes out a gun.
The seconds run by on the clock. The first man calmly opens a cabinet and picks out two items – a diamond-studded tiara and a jewelled necklace. The second man squirts a short burst of tear gas at the employees. Then they turn around and walk out. The clock shows 36.02 seconds.
This is the time it took the Pink Panther gang, the world’s premier “white glove” crooks, to commit one of the cleanest jewellery heists in Japanese history – netting almost £2m-worth of gold and precious stones. By the time the employees could react, the two men had disappeared. They were already weaving through Ginza’s heavy traffic on their getaway vehicles – later identified by police as bicycles.
There’s a story in this, for certain.
From the armyjobs website, some information on the structure of the British Army and descriptions of the responsibilities of different ranks. I need to get these straight in my head before diving into Point of Contact. I think there will be a Lance Corporal Lee and Captain Ruaine who shall become important secondary characters as the story unfolds.
Just for reference- the XM8 5.56mm carbine.
Wired has visted the Defence Systems and Equipment International exhibition in London and had a look at some of the more interesting items on display. Of particular interest to me are the mini and micro UAVs that are being developed- I want to put one in a sequence in the space comic, amongst other things.
The official White House flickr feed. Photo reference for the Space Comic. I’ll stick Obama, or someone who looks a lot like him, in the comic but not Brown. For one thing Obama is going to have more international recognition than the British Prime Minister. For another, it’s unlikely the scotsman will still be in office by the time I finish. If there’s an election whilst I’m drawing the comic there might be a “call me Dave” cameo.